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Belgium, 13th century


I saw a queen, wearing a gold dress, and her dress was full of eyes, and all the eyes were transparent, like fiery flames and yet like crystals. The crown she wore on her head had as many crowns, one above the other, as there were eyes in her dress.

She approached me dreadfully fast and put her foot on my neck, and cried out in a terrible voice: “Do you know who I am?”

And I said: “Yes! Long have you caused me pain and woe. You are my soul’s faculty of reason.”

*Hadewijch has not been canonized by the Church.


Eliot Weinberger is a writer, editor, and translator. Angels & Saints is forthcoming from Christine Burgin and New Directions.

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